Impressively slick and impressively quick: Obviously, they didn’t finish filming this until yesterday afternoon. Something about it doesn’t sit quite right with me (possibly the emphasis on schmaltzy biography during what should be an analytical process), but I think I’m just jealous at what a good idea it was. And needless to say, the next Republican president will take full similar advantage. You know what would have been an even better clip? Kagan as the second coming of the Messiah:
In Elena Kagan, who is just one year apart from him in age, Obama has found somebody whose biography, temperament, and values (as far as they are known) closely resemble his own.
Like Obama, Kagan graduated Harvard Law School and taught law at the University of Chicago. Look into the backgrounds of Obama and Kagan, and you’ll find evidence of radicalism that was tempered by personal ambition. Obama served as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and Kagan was the school’s first female dean, and they both had a reputation for treating conservatives fairly, despite ideological disagreements. Just as Obama ran for president on a thin public record, Kagan doesn’t offer much of a paper trail, leaving her views on many key issues open to speculation…
In announcing the nomination on Monday, Obama praised Kagan’s “temperament — her openness to a broad array of viewpoints; her habit, to borrow a phrase from Justice Stevens, ‘of understanding before disagreeing’; her fair-mindedness and skill as a consensus-builder.” He spoke of her recruitment of conservative professors and her encouraging students to “to respectfully exchange ideas and seek common ground…”
All of those are qualities that, coincidentally, Obama’s admirers see in him.
Yeah, and look what a centrist pragmatist he turned out to be. Serious question: Is the Kagan battle a battle worth fighting? Oh, I know that we are going to fight it — tea-party fee-vah demands nothing less of the GOP — but isn’t it just, in Evan Bayh’s words, “sad kabuki theater”? Gabe Malor makes the case that she’s a mortal lock to be confirmed (“Kagan’s the best we’re likely to get out of Obama’s short list”) and Jenny Erikson wonders what the point of a protracted fight would be (“This isn’t going to change the make-up of the court”). The answer, I guess, is that it’ll give the GOP a chance to make its case about differences in right/left judicial philosophy, but since (a) Kagan doesn’t have much of a paper trail with which to frame her as a consummate left-wing judge and (b) she’s bound to be evasive and run through ye olde “I will apply the law as written” reassurances anyway, what’s really to be gained? Apart from pressing her on Harvard’s policy towards military recruiters, it’ll be mostly song and dance for the base, no?